In which a single 43 year old woman bemoans
her unmarried status:
I know some people would want to nail me after reading just the headline but I feel this is getting out of hand. I clocked 42 last July and to be candid I’m not into any serious relationship.
I’m from South-South Nigeria, the first daughter out of 7 children. I hope you won’t feel offended as I would not further disclose my identity for obvious reason.
Just last year, our last born who works with a popular telecommunication company got married to her longtime boyfriend, leaving only me hugging ‘tubes and tyres.
I’ve gone for prayers in several churches; they promised me that my husband would appear in no distant time.
In fact, the last prayer house I went in a popular church, the man of God told me that ‘if he be a man of God, before the year runs out, my dream man would appear.
Another one told me I was the architect of my predicament, saying that I’ve missed the opportunity.
When I was in my mid 20s, I had many ‘toasters’ but they were never my dream men.
I used to think my kind of guy was the tall, dark and handsome one. Preferably banker, but now they are not forthcoming.
I was in a relationship with an ex footballer but I dumped him when I could no longer cope with his kind of person.
Now, I’m even ashamed of living in the same house with my parents at my age.
I have to say that this story or account is far too common to be waved off cavalierly—granted that in many cases the desperate women firing off these sorts of Damsel-In-Distress calls are for the most part in their 30s and not in their 40s as in this case. But of course, the stories are usually the same:- girl cannot understand why she is incapable of attracting a man or rather attracting a man who is willing to walk down the aisle; girl tries to change everything about herself including her physical appearance; girl might even suddenly discover some phantom spirituality hanging out predominantly in church circles if only to lead some unsuspecting fellow into giving her a moment’s consideration; girl finally pulls her hair off in desperation and begins to try a series of non-conventional and bizarre paths in order to secure a mate. Indeed it is the plot or subtext of so many soaps and home movies.
At any rate, what can one tell this clueless 43 year old? Let us go over the facts:
- A. She informs us that when she was young, in her 20s no less, she had many guys who were interested in her but they all were not good enough for her.
- B. All her siblings are now happily married and she is the only one left in her parent’s home.
- C. She had consulted some “prayer” churches and received some assurances that change was on the way but all to no avail.
It is painful to say this but you would think that any woman past her sexual and reproductive prime (I’ll peg this age at 30—it really should be 25), should already be grown up enough and mentally mature enough to realize that real life does not and can never mirror the world of her youthful fantasies. I heap the blame on unrealistic Hollywood movies—nay I heap the blame squarely on these sorts of women and the equally unrealistic expectations nurtured in them by the sycophantic, deceptive people around them. Otherwise, why would any sensible woman older than 15 continue to think that all she needs to do is to wait and somehow some tall, handsome and wealthy prince would beat a path to her door to seek her hand in marriage? The pathetic aspect of this is that it is not like the women who delude themselves into waiting for “Mr. Perfectly Handsome Moneybag” are themselves pinnacles of physical beauty, dazzling sophistication and charm—heck, it is not even as if they usually possess the ordinary sociable, inviting and pleasant personalities which might even serve to lure the object of their vain fantasies. So why in the world would they think that the adorable men of their nightly fixations are not busy lusting after and hastily pursuing the women who have the qualities and attributes that they manifestly lack? Has she never sat down to calculate the probability of meeting the man of her dreams given the sample of real life eligible men in her social circle? Has she even contemplated the probability of not only meeting such a man but also of being the unique member of the opposite sex that this “tall-dark-and-handsome” would automatically and naturally gravitate towards?
How in the world does the woman in this piece not sit down to radically re-assess her priorities the very day she turned 30, 33, 35 let alone 40? For her own sake, since it was not explicitly stated, one hopes that someone talked a good deal of commonsense into her to help beat back her unrealistic expectations. One seriously hopes or rather expects that now, long after she has passed her sexual and reproductive peak, and consequently of no practical utility for any man looking to start a family, she has finally learned not to be too picky. This should be a cautionary reminder to some of these young women who have their noses buried in the clouds looking or waiting for the advent of some charismatic, wealthy, Young Turk to sweep her off her feet and propose to her.
The truth which has continued to elude such women is that women have a shelf-life: at those younger ages when they are at the height of their physical looks and beauty, and ostensibly at the height of their reproductive vitality, is usually the time when the men would come. Some of the men of course would come for relationships; some will come for the sex. It is therefore incumbent on women to start at that time (no matter how young they may think they are or how much time in the world they may feel they have) to begin to lay serious groundwork for a future married life—if at all they have any desire to be married. This is the time to take a sober look at one’s choices to see who at the time represents one’s realistic best choice of a deep meaningful long-term relationship or possible marriage. It is the time to be mature, emotionally and mentally available to explore a meaningful relationship with a serious-minded fellow. It is the time to strategize about how to get married and then go back to school (if it eventually comes to that). This is because you have a future goal or destination in mind (i.e. marriage or a committed meaningful long-term relationship) and the dating market as you will invariably come to discover, throws some stiff challenges constantly. And so in a short while really—indeed before she starts to realize it as she is pursuing that career—she will sit up after she has clocked 30 and realize that all the men who were flocking to her like butterflies to nectar have mysteriously and rapidly disappeared. They may not have disappeared because the woman in question got physically more repulsive; indeed it might even be the case that the woman might have gotten a career and might have shed some pounds as she thinks herself finally ready to dive into the dating pool. The difference at that time, like I pointed out, is that those ordinary Joes who were serious about marriage and raising a family as they tried to woo little Miss “I’m-too-good-for-you” will already have been married with 3 or 4 children; or they will look at her and consider her rather too OLD for anything meaningful assuming they were still single.
But then those of you who are still in their early 20s may protest and say that 32 is not too OLD or you may point at a few people you know who got married long after people wrote them off as being too old for marriage. Do you honestly want my reply to that? Well then, my response is simple: May that fate be your portion then. Please say Amen. Seriously, if you are going to disregard commonsense and the wisdom garnered from ages of constantly affirmed socio-sexual dynamics in favor of some forlorn hope grounded on someone’s anomalous ‘success’ in getting a man long after she was past her sexual and reproductive prime, then by all means: “have it your way.” For good measure wait till you are 40 and begin only thento search—I’m sure everyone will be keen on seeing how successful you eventually become.
Secondly, after Miss 43 has seen to it that she is not building castles in the air with regard to the man of her marital preference I will strongly urge her to move out of her parent’s house. At 43, she should be pretty much independent and less tied to her parent’s apron strings. One might even ask rhetorically if it was not her pursuit of her career and education that made her lose sight of another important milestone in a woman’s life. If so, then at least one expects that she did not lose doubly in not having any source of livelihood. Therefore, if she has a job and can fend for herself, she needs to be on her own—if need be in a place far removed from her hitherto unproductive environment—showing that she is not only capable of realizing the goals she set for herself but that she potentially has something to bring to the table for any man who might be led to disregard her current unmarried estate to step forward. By staying in her father’s house, she’ll merely be hindering her chances of success by feeding a malicious rumor mill especially when anyone can easily point to and recollect that all her sisters are now married and safely in their husband’s homes. She needs a clean break from her familiar surroundings therefore I’ll encourage her to move to a different city or state and rededicate her life to the passions or purposes she once cherished. It is often the case that when men see a hardworking older but unmarried woman they may be impressed with her work ethic and her devotion to the things she calls her own. This has been known in the past to have dramatically increased a woman’s chances of getting fresh albeit more seasoned suitors.
Lastly—and this needs to be taken very seriously—she should immediately cease and desist from running from spiritual church to spiritual temple or shrine seeking for supernatural remedies. This is in my opinion the silliest idea. I seriously do not understand why sensible people feel like they need supernatural intervention to successfully establish a relationship with someone else. For starters, most of the people peddling these spiritual solutions are consummate charlatans; they are wide-eyed Chaucerian frauds who will merely spirit away your money and resources. Secondly, running around trying all sorts of daft spiritual solutions is a surefire way of unwittingly exposing oneself to the eventual possession and manipulation of malevolent spiritual entities or demons. Furthermore, everyone needs to take a step back and realize that reason and math dictates that everyone may not necessarily find a husband or wife. There is no precise 1:1 correspondence ratio between the numbers of male births to the numbers of female births or between the numbers of eligible bachelors to the numbers of eligible spinsters. One can reasonably conclude based on some rough inspection of incarceration rates, murder rates, or even death rates that not every woman will get married; let alone to the bedazzling Adonis of her fantasies.
Based on the foregoing, the woman in the opening piece needs to address her mind to the real possibility that she may not find a husband. That possibility should not be viewed as a curse, a defect, and a thing of shame or a badge of dishonor. The honest truth is that for some people, no matter what they do, marriage is not in the cards for them. This should not mean therefore that their lives ought to be anything less satisfying or fulfilling. As is often the case, the main reason why she is suddenly desperate to be married could be that her maternal instincts which were previously ignored or suppressed are now dealing vicious kicks to her emotional and cognitive centers with forceful regularity. If that be the case, she should adopt a baby to mother and lavish her love on—she does not need to wait for a husband to do this. After all, if she somehow gets married the very next day, it is abundantly possible that she has reached menopause. Furthermore, as we all know, the chances that a child born to a woman in her 40s may come out deformed or plagued by autism or Down syndrome is exponentially increased. Any man willing to marry a 43 year old woman has his own baggage and thus will likely not bother about the fact that the woman already had a son or daughter she was raising.
Nevertheless, if the woman in this example works on her interpersonal skills, radically disabuses herself of her previous pie-in-the-sky ideals and wholeheartedly devotes herself to some passion or vocation then in no time a suitor appropriate for her circumstance will come. If after 5 years of such consistent search nothing happens, I’ll simply encourage her to focus her energies into being the best mother a woman can possibly be.